This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Which those incur who of the pledge are fond;
And writings there at Pytho say me nay.
”Eur. fr. 923 [Nauck（2）]  But some also say that it is not the meaning of Chilon nor is it the act of a good citizen, not to come to the aid of a friend when he needs help of this kind; but rather that he advises against strong asseverations, against eagerness in giving pledges, and against irrevocable decisions in human affairs, such as the Greeks once made in connection with their victory over Xerxes. For they took oath at Plataea4 that they would hand down enmity to the Persians as an inheritance even to their children's children, so long as the rivers run into the sea, as the race of men endures, and as the earth brings forth fruit; and yet, despite the binding pledge they had taken against fickle fortune, after a time they were sending ambassadors to Artaxerxes, Xerxes' son, to negotiate a treaty of friendship and alliance.5  Chilon's precepts, though brief, embrace the entire counsel necessary for the best life, since these pithy sayings of his are worth more than all the votive offerings set up in Delphi. The golden ingots of Croesus6 and other handiwork like them have vanished and were but great incentives to men who chose to lift impious hands against the temple; but Chilon's maxims are kept alive for all time, stored up as they are in the souls of educated men and constituting the fairest treasure, on which neither Phocians nor Gauls would be quick to lay their hands.7Const. Exc. 4, pp. 283-285.
2 The ignorance, Plato would say, that mistakes itself for knowledge.
4 In 479 B.C.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.